Best Foot Forward
6 soles for every summer occasion
photography by Curtis Comeau
The last throes of summer are upon us, and that means one final push of summer events. With all the festivals, weddings and backyard bashes to attend, the options for flattering footwear are endless. From the return of platform soles to the detailed looks and worn leather of modern shoes, we have the prevailing trends that will help you stay foot-fashion-forward for every occasion.
Backyard Barbecue & Pool Party
The basic style tenets for pool parties are likely the easiest to follow: Stay cool, dress for the sun and leave your formal attire at home. This usually means you get to pare down your wardrobe to the bare essentials – the summer dress, shorts and T-shirts and a nice pair of shades. Still, this is a summer event when your footwear can speak volumes and draw attention away from those pasty legs. Consider a wide crisscrossing strapped sandal for the ladies, and a boat shoe for the men. Form and function should meet brilliantly with refined summer looks complimented with waterproofing and slip-resistance.
Men: Sperry Top-Sider boat shoe, $115, from gravitypope
Women: Punto Pigro sandal, $160, from gravitypope
We live in festival city, so make sure you’re prepared to hit the pavement, the grass, or wherever the festivities take you while you’re out in the hot sun. Staying hydrated and keeping your feet cool during your all-day outdoor engagements is just as important in lowering your body temperature, but that doesn’t mean you should eschew a sense of style in favour of your five-year old flip flops. For men, consider the new masculine Birkenstocks, while women can dress to impress with a wedge sole sandal to compliment any lengthy summer dress.
Men: Birkenstock Arizona sandal, $166, from Kunitz Shoes
Women: Gentle Souls by Kenneth Cole Juniper Tea wedge sole sandal, $265, from gravitypope
Like every other item of clothing you put on before that first date, you’re going to have to ask yourself what your shoes are going to say about you. Classic black footwear in this scenario is only going to bore, and that’s the last thing you want when making a first impression. Consider multiple textures and shades of coulour to show off the layers of your persona.
Men: Jasper Derby, $378, from Poppy Barley
Women: Hispanitas women’s cross, $229, from Kunitz Shoes
Business to Bar
You want to look professional, but you don’t want to seem stale if you’re caught at an impromptu cocktail lounge meeting. Ensure that your footwear meets your office attire standard, but will set you apart from the rest. Add bits of flair and character with this year’s blue and brown colour trends and styles that are just shy of a traditional look to set you up for style success.
Men: Vancouver Chukka, $398, from Poppy Barley
Women: Modern Mary-Jane, $198, from Poppy Barley
OK, OK – so you’re not hiking 20 miles through the bush, so “roughing it” might be overstating things. But if you’re going to get out into the great outdoors for a Civic Holiday or Labour Day long-weekend camping trip, or if you’re set on attending a backwoods barn-burner, you’re going to want something that seems just as home in the fashion-forward city as it does on the country-raised guy or gal. The answer here, is “boots,” of which there are plenty in this year’s collections. While the gruff and tough leather and heavy rubber soles make them tough enough to meet the challenges of the backwoods – they also look good doing it.
Men: Red Wing Beckman boot, $385, from gravitypope
Women: Chelsea Boot, $350, from Poppy Barley
The Summer Wedding
When the sun is scorching and the bride and groom are sweating in their formal attire, stay cool, breezy, comfortable and fashionable with light and airy summer styles such as a brogue for men and platform espadrille for women. While both add sophistication and a bit of summer fun with a variety of colours and textures, the trick is to think of your feet. Comfort and flair together mean only one pair of shoes for the event, rather than “ceremony shoes” and “dancing shoes.”
Men: Clarks Darby Limit men’s lace brogue, $160, from Kunitz Shoes
Women: Toni Pons Tarbes espadrille, $120, from Kunitz Shoes